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Green bikes in Ipswich - everything you need to know

PUBLISHED: 12:55 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 30 April 2018

Green Urbo bikes in Ipswich. From left, co-founder Tom McGovern, chairman of Ipswich Vision Terry Hunt and Cllr Carole Jones. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Green Urbo bikes in Ipswich. From left, co-founder Tom McGovern, chairman of Ipswich Vision Terry Hunt and Cllr Carole Jones. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bike sharing has arrived in Ipswich, but how does it all work? Here are details on how to get on the road.

The town’s own hi-tech answer to the famous “Boris bikes” has now been launched, offering cyclists to chance to use a simple phone app to book their two-wheeled ride.

The scheme is being paid for and run by Urbo, a firm which previously set up the ‘pay as you ride’ bikes in three London boroughs.

There are 100 bikes being provided initially, but this is due to expand to 500 in the summer.

Co-founder of Urbo Tom McGovern with some of the green bikes for Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWNCo-founder of Urbo Tom McGovern with some of the green bikes for Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

So how do you join up? You just need to download the Urbo app, which is available on Apple or Android, and register for membership.

You can then use the app to find a bike, or just spot one of the bikes around the town in person. Either way, you scan the QR code on the cycle’s back wheel, to open its smart lock. Your phone’s Bluetooth needs to be switched on for this to work.

You can then start riding, and when you reach your destination, you just park the bike and your account will be billed.

Councillor Carole Jones tries one of the new Urbo bikes with Co-founder Tom McGovern. Picture: GREGG BROWNCouncillor Carole Jones tries one of the new Urbo bikes with Co-founder Tom McGovern. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The service has designated parking spaces which credit riders who use them, through the Urbo credit system.

The cost of riding is 50p for 30 minutes, with the timer resetting once the bike is locked.

If you are wondering how organisers keep track of the bikes, they are all fitted with GPS tracking. This means an alert is automatically raised if a bike is moved without first being registered. Anyone who fails to lock the bike correctly will also be removed from using the service.

New Urbo bike for Ipswich town centre. Picture: GREGG BROWNNew Urbo bike for Ipswich town centre. Picture: GREGG BROWN

There is a team of people in Ipswich who have the task of keeping the bikes in good condition and making sure they are returned to their designated spaces.

The bikes, aimed at students and other people living in the town, as well as tourists, have been welcomed by Ipswich councillors. Rachel Gilbey, president of the University of Suffolk’s Student Union, also welcomed them, saying: “I think it is a brilliant scheme for Ipswich and particularly students who stay here.”

Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, added: “It is a key part of the Vision’s strategy to link up the Waterfront, including the University, with the town centre. Anything that helps people get around the town more easily is warmly welcomed.”

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